ALT Summit 2012


I sat at the table and picked at the cream table cloth on Friday afternoon. I counted the stains, rearranged the pitcher of water a few times, and unwrapped a candy I didn’t eat. My ears pulsed and my face felt hot, so I made sure to count my deep breaths in Spanish to ensure I was taking my time. Uno, dos, tres… I felt like Dora the Explorer. Just two days earlier I felt the same way, but the circumstances were slightly different.

When I walked into the tightly packed room of ALT Summit speakers on Wednesday night, I texted JD: I’m Going In. I didn’t know a single person, but I promised him I would attend the mixer because I was determined to get out of my comfort zone, a zone that is usually demarcated by the lines of my sofa and a pint of ice cream. I shook a few hands, introduced myself, made small talk, but then I hit a wall. My ears pulsed and my face felt hot, so I got all Dora. Uno, dos, tres… When I realized I was by myself on the periphery of the room, I noticed the following coaster…

…it was then when I realized if I wanted to feel comfortable, I needed to be behind my camera. Sure, it was a cop out (it’s easier to see life through my viewfinder), but for this introvert, it was a big deal. I stayed a bit longer then hailed a cab back to the hotel, promising myself to be braver the next day at registration.

It was my first time attending the ALT Summit, so I was pleasantly surprised to be surrounded with hundreds of other designers/creatives/bloggers who loved all things lovely. Rooms were decorated by sponsors and tables filled with goodies for people who think one can never have enough stationary. It was cuteness overload.

The two and a half day summit is comprised of keynote and breakout sessions covering a myriad of topics for creatives and I found myself scribbling pages of notes. Of course, no one spoke about photography (there were just a few photographers in attendance), but I found it valuable to learn what other industries were doing and learning the art of creating content. I was forced to look at things in new ways and I loved the challenges it presented…I really felt so lucky to have been invited.

One of the keynote sessions I thoroughly enjoyed was The Relationship Between Traditional and New Media panel, hosted by Martha Stewart’s Pilar Guzman, the Wall Street Journal’s Deborah Needleman, and Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan of Apartment Therapy, moderated by Gabrielle Blair. It was awesome to hear perspectives from both print and online media outlets, and the trajectory of each in regard to content, advertising, and reader response to each.

Okay. So. This picture? It’s not the best, but I promise, it’s a big freaking deal. And I’m betting my mother just gasped at the notion that I used “freaking” on my blog. She’s praying for me right now, but before I repent, I need to explain the gravity of this moment. This is Dooce, otherwise known as Heather Armstrong. I started reading her blog in 2005, when I was stuck in law school and downright miserable. Life was almost unbearable at the time, but I somehow stumbled across her site and I was hooked. Even during my darkest days (leaving law school, sitting with my mom during her chemo treatments, being jobless), her posts brought a smile to my face. In a weird way, she gave me the permission to write about myself and life on the web…something that would later redefine my entrance into the photography world.
When I discovered she was slated to be a panelist at ALT, I made sure I arrived early just to stalk maybe say hi. When I walked into the ballroom, she was standing in the back and I almost fainted. No, really. It was UNO DOS TRES time, Internet. As the room quickly filled, I realized that if I wanted to say hi, I’d have to do it then…so…I did. Kinda.
It’s all one, big blur, but I think I said hi. Or something loosely related to a salutation. I wanted to say everything…to tell her thank you…to say I adored her dogs and daughters (HELLLLLLLO CREEPY!)…to say her newly growing out hair looked great. But only managed a whispered, Hi, can I take a picture with you? Way. To. Go. That’s all I managed, but seeing how I went to a mixer by myself for 25 minutes AND approached a girl crush in the same week, I cut myself some slack.

This is Pinterest‘s CEO, Ben. Ben doesn’t need a last name because he’s so awesome I feel like he’s my friend after his amazing presentation. Oh, you know, my friend, Ben. I walked away so inspired from his life story and business approach that I wanted to tuck him in my pocket and bring him home with me.

On Friday afternoon, I had the distinct pleasure of hosting the Building a Personal Brand panel with Cassandra Lavalle and Camille Styles, moderated by Hunter Sebresos. I had a wonderful time getting to know this group of amazing people and it was an honor to share a stage with them.

Many thanks to my good friend Promise Tangeman for capturing photos of the presentation…

I was overwhelmed and honored by the warm ALT response…for those who attended, thank you. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

I’m going to end this post with this picture…one of my favorites from the entire summit. My entire trip was made beyond perfect because of my roommates…in moments of complete social awkwardness, they saved me. We stayed up late and had great conversations, pushing me me to think bigger and hope for more.
Liz of Liz Designs Things, Kirsten of Simply Grove, me (obvi), and Promise of Promise Tangeman.

Happy Tuesday!

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  1. Rachel Tatem

    January 24th, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Sounds like an awesome conference! I’m glad you were invited!

  2. Dee

    January 24th, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    So, so cool Jasmine! That looks like such a nice event. I’d love to check it out one year.

  3. Camilla Knudsen

    January 24th, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Congrats to you for making it through the summit with your nerves intact 🙂 btw love your outfit on the last photo there. so colourful, fresh and yet very mature (in a good way) but I get a general feeling of your whole look being more mature and stylish. (started when I saw the images of you by trevor hoehne in your magazine when I received it) sure it’s not time for a new website soon? seems like you have "changed"/grown a lot the last two years. Am I wrong? 🙂 🙂 🙂

  4. Rhonda Bowman

    January 24th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    I Love Heather Armstrong too!!! Love the last picture of Promise – on the PASS tour I told her she looks 12! She is so FREAKING beautiful!!!

  5. Jessica Vidmar Photography

    January 24th, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    so inspirational : ) and it feels good to know I’m not the only creepy internet blog stalker out there!

  6. Tara

    January 24th, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I wanted to go to Alt summit so bad! If I would have known you were there I would have sold donkeys to get there!

    How awesome for you that you did this and learned a lot and went out of your comfort zone!

  7. Catie Ronquillo

    January 24th, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    OMG. So your description of meeting Heather Armstrong? Exact. Same. Feeling. when I met you…the second time. I think the first time I was in shock (I could barely call myself a photographer at the time, and I had taken a leap of faith to go to a photography seminar where I knew NO ONE. AT ALL. I had a camera and knew how to work it. Kind of. ) that you said hi first to me and a girl I met in the restroom. So it’s good to know that those kinds of feelings are pretty universal. I think the second time I met you I squeaked out the picture request, hahaha. Although, if I had the chance to meet Heather in person, I’d probably keel over and die. Twice. And remark on how blue her daughters’ eyes are. And the funny pictures of her dog. CREEPY right? 🙂 ALT Summit looks amazing! Maybe next year!

  8. sarah danaher

    January 24th, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    I had several friends who went this year, and I’m totally jealous. I’d love to put it in the plans for next year.

  9. The New Diplomat's Wife

    January 24th, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    You were nervous meeting people? WE were nervous meeting you – at least I was. So happy to have finally met you in person – I had been practising what clever things I would say, and then it turned out you were right there at the table! Thanks for a fantastic presentation and for the vote of confidence.

  10. Christa

    January 24th, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I think I might have to put this Alt Conference on my to do list 🙂 and J* you look awesome in all these photos…as always 🙂

  11. Kandise

    January 24th, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Alt looks so fabulous. And eiee, you met Dooce!

  12. Stacey - Total City Girl

    January 24th, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Alt Summit sounds like such a great burst of creative inspiration! Would love to attend next time. Jasmine, you crack me up! I know – those networking mixers are so hard Some people seem to thrive in those situations. I’m always surprised when I read about how you feel during these situations. I’ve seen you speak in person (in CT) and girl, you are AMAZING and have so much to offer! Just think that people get intimidated to come up to YOU! I had to force myself. 🙂 Glad I did though.

  13. Alexis

    January 24th, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Sounds fun!

    I’m happy you were able to meet one of your role models! I know the feeling! It’s a rush! And a blessing. 🙂

  14. Victoria

    January 24th, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Im confused, what are these ALT Summit gatherings for? I see you mention them alot, but Ive never figured it out lol

  15. Jordanne Fallon

    January 24th, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    So Jealous… I wanted to go to this so bad… being a graphic designer/photographer… its like a dream.

    ps. Your story about you and your blogging inspiration, is the same for how I felt when I met you in Chicago… it was like you were this celebrity, and I got the opportunity to have my picture with you!! As I drove home it was like ear to ear smile, (even though I was totally embarrassed that I didn’t bring my good camera, and all I had was a lame point and shoot)

  16. Kasey Loftin Photography

    January 24th, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Who actually thinks they have enough stationary? Not me! Thanks for sharing. I would love to get a chance to view your presentation on building a personal brand. Any chance you can share?

  17. Misty Minna Photography

    January 24th, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Just checked out Dooce’s website and I am in love. How have I been missing this for so long? As always J*, thanks for the inspiration.

  18. Kelli Taylor

    January 24th, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Ok first, I’d have to count in spanish too (and I’m a white girl) if I met heather. Second, keep this moment in mind when you visit chicago for the fix so I don’t seem like a big fat stalker when I meet you! Sidebar, I actually saw you speak in lansing michigan a couple years ago but I chickened out of saying hi.

  19. Lillian Chang

    January 24th, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Hi Jasmine! I sat in on your panel, and I have to say, you were what made ALT so worth it for me 🙂 I feel like I found a new hero! You were such a wonderful speaker and you inspired me so much! I wanted to meet you afterward, but there were so many people…I live in Southern California (Orange County!) too, so hopefully we can meet (or I can book a photo session with you!).

    Either way, I really had to tell you THANK YOU SO MUCH for inspiring me to go after the things I love, to just be me and proud, and to love what I do. Thank you, Jasmine!!

  20. Gail

    January 24th, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    SO proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone, woman! And you and Heather? LOVE IT! You’re pretty adorable when you’re starstruck 😉

  21. Michelle

    January 24th, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    wow. It’s so refreshing to hear that people who I was nervous to say hi to (you!) was also nervous too! When I introduced myself to you and Promise at the white party I felt like a big goober. ha. But I guess we’ve all felt like that at one point during the conference, right?!

  22. Amber Janke

    January 24th, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    I hope to be as accomplished as you with my photography and maybe one day I’ll be the one (stalking) saying hi to you and asking for a pic! Thanks for being so honest it’s a pleasure to read about your adventures:)

  23. Tabitha Parker

    January 24th, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing!!! Your posts always make me smile! 🙂

  24. Teresa K

    January 24th, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    The rockstars, rockstars…awesome!! I love that you look outside of your field for inspiration. It’s just one part of what makes you so special.

  25. Carla Barnett

    January 24th, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I love this post!!


    January 24th, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    I freaking love you!! 🙂 You rocked it at ALT!

  27. Alexandra Evjen

    January 24th, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    It was so lovely to finally meet you, Jasmine! I hope to see you again soon. Just know that your talk really blew people out of the water. You have a gift!!

  28. Chelsea C.

    January 24th, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    What a sweet post — I was in your panel (I came up and gushed at you afterward. Haha!) and I still maintain that you were the most inspiring thing I saw at Alt. Perception is crazy — to hear you talk about what an introvert you are and how it’s hard for you to schmooze is so crazy, because I feel the same way. And I was forcing myself to go make an introduction to YOU after you spoke! So in any case, congrats again, and you have a new fan. Keep keepin’ it real! xo

  29. Neda Lahrodi-Blake

    January 24th, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    gosh Jasmine you’re so humble. I’m sure she was just as honored you wanted to taker her pic. Looking fab x

  30. Jewel at Eat.Drink.Shop.Love

    January 24th, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Great recap! I wish I was able to attend. Maybe next year.

  31. Melissa Cramer Photography

    January 24th, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    I have been a fan of Heather/Dooce forever as well! LOVE her. Looking at her in this picture makes me want to give her a big hug. Since you read her blog, you know what I mean. Can’t wait to see YOU in San Francisco on 3/19!

  32. Ashley Goodwin

    January 24th, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    How FUN!!!! Jasmine, you totally belonged there. You transcend the world of photography and inspire so many people in so many ways, I’m excited you were invited onto the panel. You’re always a cool kid. Always.


  33. Ashley Goodwin

    January 24th, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Ps: I see you rockin’ those red pants, GLAMSTER!!!! See! Seeeeeee!

  34. Aimee

    January 24th, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    You took a photo with Heather Armstrong? How fun!

  35. Lupe Ruiz

    January 24th, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    I loved reading this. You described how I am at any kind of event. Please don’t be surprised if I blurt out something random (or just ask to take a photo with you) when I meet you at The Fix in SF!! 🙂

  36. tamsen

    January 24th, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    WOW- Promise has freaking awesome hair! <3 it and <3 you! You rock Jasmine!

  37. Lydia

    January 24th, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Jasmine, you’re so gracious when people come up to you and ask for pictures! I’d never guess you go through the same thing with others! I know I’ll have those same feelings at WPPI, but I’m determined to go, mix it up, and make some new friends!

  38. Lerissa

    January 24th, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Jasmine…you make me laugh…one day when I FINALLY attend one of your workshops…I will be that "creepy" person who knows way too much about you….since your blog makes me smile each day!

  39. Tony Whitmore

    January 24th, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Ah Jasmine, that’s almost exactly how I felt at your workshop! Glad you got what you wanted out the summit though. 🙂

  40. Caytlyn Chilelli

    January 24th, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Wow thanks for posting this, it makes me want to go next year! I was afraid to go this year, alone, and still being in school, but alt summit is on my bucket list for sure! Looks like you had a really great time! I can relate to those socially awkward situations haha , but that’s life.

  41. Ashley

    January 24th, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    ummm… funny you talk about meeting a person you "stalked".. pretty sure that is how i’d react if i met you! thank you for following your dreams and going out of your comfort zone to give me the confidence to follow my dreams! WWJD. what would jasmine do. yep. holla!

  42. Yasmin Sarai

    January 24th, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Thanks for sharing… your humility is so refreshing!

  43. anda

    January 24th, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    YAY! Love this post. And okay, I must know every photographer who attended then, because I know SO MANY photographers who were lucky enough to be there. I was total jealous all week. And do I spy a Mike Perry design in one of those stationery shots? My favorite!!

  44. Jen

    January 24th, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Looks like it was a wonderful event! I get so nervous at events, so I could feel your nervousness in this post! Thanks for representing for all of us introverts! 🙂

  45. Stacy

    January 24th, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Looks like you had a blast! I love Dooce! And I’ve followed Kirsten since day one of Simply Grove. So cool!

  46. Emily Faith Donohue

    January 24th, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Oh Jasmine, it shocks me to hear you say you feel socially awkward because you exude confidence. If you see a girl in the corner at The Fix, staring down at a coaster or pretending to look interested in something simple, well that’s me too. I think we all have a little or a lot of Dora moments. Thanks for being transparent and showing your weaknesses – because a lot of us can relate. Its so comforting to be able to say "me too!". See you March 2nd!

  47. Michelle Gr

    January 24th, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    As a total introvert I LOVE this post…BUT…I have to tell you that I was on a photo shoot in a craggy ravine this a.m. and fell. Your Brown Girl Down post flashed to memory and then I jumped up, said "I’m ok, the gear’s ok, let’s go!"

  48. Beth Mondillo

    January 24th, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    This sounds like an AMAZING conference! LOL! About died reading your meeting with Heather. That’s pretty much what happened (to me) when I met you at WPPI last year. He he. 🙂

  49. denise karis

    January 24th, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    omg omg omg DOOCE!!! Testament as to how HUGE of a deal she is to me that all I could think (after days of dancing around thinking "I GET TO MEET JASMINE STAR!") when i saw that photo was "Omg shes SO lucky, she got to meet dooce!" I so want to give that woman a huge hug and kidnap marlo – dooce creeper 100%

  50. Melanie

    January 24th, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Jasmine – You were AMAZING! I wanted to stick around and talk to you after your panel, but I really had to pee. (If there’s one thing you taught me it is to be real.) 🙂 You were so inspiring and fiery and I just fell in love with you that day. I hope we get a chance to chat or tweet or email sometime soon. YOU ROCK! xoxo

  51. Life with kaishon

    January 25th, 2012 at 1:00 am

    I never really got into Dooce. You, jasmine, are the Dooce in my world. I am pretty sure I would be way too afraid to say hi though. I’m glad you had fun. I love your friend Promise’s name AND her hair. You look like the coolest girls at the party!

  52. Kirsten Grove

    January 25th, 2012 at 7:49 am

    You were my most favorite speaker!!! Thanks for being such an inspiration! My roomies rock!!! xxoo

  53. Elizabeth at Seaport Photo

    January 25th, 2012 at 8:10 am

    It’s so refreshing to hear that you still have those wallflower moments…since you come across as nothing even close to being an introvert. I was in your YWD workshop a year ago and felt so out of place at the party…while it seemed like everyone else was in their element!!! I’m forever grateful to several other participants who reached out and included me. I hope I always remember to do that when I see someone who is out of their comfort zone.

  54. Hannes Uys

    January 25th, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    You are sooo good!

  55. Abby Grace

    January 25th, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    I feel like your description of how you acted at Alt Summit is exactly how I’m going to be at The Fix. Like "ohmyjeezit’sJasmineStarintheflesh. WHAT DO I SAY??"

  56. Julia

    January 25th, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    I love Dooce! So glad you do too – I thought I was a weirdo for reading a MommyBlog when I don’t have children! Well, we can be weirdo’s together.

  57. Vanessa

    January 25th, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Love this post and all posts related to being an introvert. Thank you for sharing, I gives me hope that I will make it as a photographer as well!

  58. jaine {brklynview}

    January 25th, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    thanks so much for sharing. i love your honesty and look forward to meeting you in a few months. new york’s "the fix" is going to be the best!! — jaine

  59. Dena Powell

    January 26th, 2012 at 4:08 am

    I love it when two of my favorite bloggers collide! Dooce!! Love her. Love you.

  60. Bryan

    January 26th, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    "love what you do’ perfect, we are not here to be misserable

  61. Tobe | Because It's Awesome

    February 5th, 2012 at 3:21 am

    Jasmine, I have to tell you that you were absolutely WONDERFUL to hear from —- SO SO inspiring, so full of life – I hope you know that you really had that room in the palm of your hand. I can’t imagine your day to day routine is any different 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration – so pleased to know of you thanks to Alt! ox

  62. Jae

    February 29th, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Always great to see your photo and hear your story! I am surprised to see you using Pinterest on your blog. You are so brave! I was wondering if you allow people to pin your photos without asking you. I heard there’s issue with violation of copyrights. I would love to hear your thoughts on Pinterest… Thank you!!